Skurla’s co-founder and Alaskan legend, John Skurla (my dad), passed away peacefully on October 30th. He was 90 years old.
Many of you may have known John, who provided some of the first cash registers and point of sale systems to Alaskans before he and his wife, Phyllis, founded Skurla’s back in 1976. Even though he retired several years ago, his thoughts, ideas, and business principles still continue to guide and influence the company today. He meant so much to many different people. He was a boss, a father, a friend, a trusted advisor, and more. The team at Skurla’s POS Solutions honors John Skurla as the legend he was and will continue to cherish his memory for years to come.
His service will be at St John United Methodist Church on Thursday, November 11th at 4 p.m. AST. Please note that this service will require a mask to be worn. It will also be live streamed for those that can't attend in person (check this page for an update on how).
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that donations be sent to VA SPECIAL REHABILITATION EVENTS (Fund #4417) Donations from this fund are used to financially support the travel expenses for Veteran patients attending VA-sponsored rehabilitation events such as the National Veteran Golden Age Games as well as National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Colorado. For more information on how to donate: https://www.alaskalegionauxiliary.org/Veterans_Affairs_Voluntary_Service_(VAVS).htm
Thomas Greenman shares his John story:
With John Skurla’s passing, I’d like to share how I got to know him. When I started with Skurla’s back in 2008, John was retired and his wife Phyllis worked part time in the office. As a new Alaskan, and a new employee, I was happy to see that I was working for a family run business. Even though Lynn (Skurla) Perkins was our boss, you could tell the influence her parents still had on the everyday business. I don’t recall the first time I met him but stories of John proceeded him by leaps and bounds. Folks would come in all the time and ask, “Where’s John?”. It was hard not to know of him, even though I hadn’t actually seen him yet.
Eventually, we met and I don’t know if I made a big impression on him. I was still finding my place at the company, and he seemed content with being retired. Over the years, Phyllis would ask me for tech support, to which I always happily obliged. In those interactions, I got to know John more, and was able to help them both when I could. Business tech support and home tech support are two different animals. They are similar but home support can be very personal, and time consuming. I’d spend a few hours at their house every now and again, helping with whatever the issue was. When we talked, it was apparent he was cut from a different cloth! His opinions were unshakable, his wit sharp as a sword, and his laugh highly contagious. I never knew any of my grandfathers, but John’s presence surely felt grandfatherly to me. Phyllis was always gracious and polite, apologizing for some of the things he said, she truly loved him. And that just made me respect John even more.
John would say, “There is nothing more permanent than change.” It’s something I carry with me everyday in my toolbox of wisdom that I’ve added to over the years. At Skurla’s, we carry that very same wisdom with us and more, always looking for the next change, no matter how uncomfortable it may make us. You could also say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. John’s love of telling stories and building relationships may have sounded old school, but it’s just fundamentals – something that gets lost when you are always chasing the new. In me getting to know John more, I learned those fundamentals. Those conversations weren’t idle chatter, they were educational sessions (with some laughs thrown into them). We have so much to learn from those that paved the way for us, I’m so very happy I got a chance to know John Skurla. And more so, a chance to be a part of the Skurla’s family.
We’ll miss you, John.